Looking for a nursing home — for a loved one or yourself — is a nerve-wracking experience. We all want the best care at a fair price.
Unfortunately, poor health, safety and sanitary conditions are all too common, according to a newly released U.S. Senate report.
The report alleges that in the past, the federal government has not properly identified many facilities providing poor care. Such nursing homes have not appeared on a shorter list of homes that get increased federal scrutiny due to a record of poor care, according to the report.
The two senators who released the report — Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., and Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa. — also released a list of the nearly 400 homes with a history of providing subpar care. You can find this list of problem nursing homes — listed based on the states in which they are located — at the end of the senators’ report.
All nursing homes on the list are classified as either participants in or candidates for the Special Focus Facilities program of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
CMS defines Special Focus Facilities as “nursing homes with a record of poor survey (inspection) performance on which CMS focuses extra attention.” The program targets facilities that “substantially fail” to meet required care standards and resident protections afforded by the federal Medicare and Medicaid programs.
Previously, only participants in the Special Focus Facilities program have been identified.
Why haven’t all of these facilities been identified previously? According to a report by the Associated Press:
“Budget cuts appear to be contributing to the problem by reducing money available for the focused inspections that are required for nursing homes on the shorter list, according to documents and interviews.”
The AP reports that around 1.3 million Americans are nursing home residents, living in one of more than 15,700 nursing home facilities.
Although some facilities may not be hitting the mark when it comes to caring for residents, the senators’ report notes that the problem nursing homes appearing on government lists account for just 3% of all homes.
Finding affordable care in old age
Care at the end of life can be expensive. The national median cost of a semiprivate nursing home room was $7,441 per month in 2018 and that of a private room was $8,365 per month, according to Genworth’s latest survey of long-term care costs.
Long-term care insurance can help cut out-of-pocket costs. But does it make sense to invest in this product?
In some cases, the answer is yes, says Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson. But he also urges you to tread carefully, explaining in “Ask Stacy: Should I Buy Long-Term Care Insurance?“:
“When shopping for long-term care insurance, pay attention to the fine print. Look for exclusions, benefits, when the policy kicks in and how much it pays. Many policies may also feature rising premiums, which could price you out of your policy just as the need for it approaches.”
If you can’t afford long-term care insurance, you should know that care in old age can put much of your estate at risk. For more, check out “2-Minute Money Manager: Can I Protect My Money If I Go Into a Nursing Home?”
Have you made decisions about nursing home care recently? Share what you’ve learned in comments below or on our Facebook page.